What is a raingarden?

A Raingarden is an area of vegetation designed to hold rain or surface water and then slowly release it. This helps to reduce the likelihood and severity of flooding. Water is filtered naturally through the plants, layers of soil and gravel they contain and this removes contaminants and pollutants. The filtered water is then slowly released back into the drainage system. Eventually this cleaner, filtered water reaches our rivers and streams.

Harmful pollutants, for example litter, deposits from vehicle emissions, oil spills or industrial estate runoff, are easily picked up by rainwater and then flushed into drainage systems and eventually end up in our rivers and streams. Many of these pollutants are harmful to both humans and to wildlife. Raingardens are designed to catch these pollutants, nutrients, rubbish and sediment and prevent them from getting into our rivers and waterways.

In ground Raingarden at Taylor Wimpet housing develoment   Planter box Raingarden at an office     


There are many benefits from Raingardens including:

Helping to reduce flooding by holding rain water and slowly releasing it.
• Raingardens are easy to look after and pleasant to look at, brightening up our homes, towns and places of work.
Provide cleaner air for you, your family and your friends to breathe.
• They help to reduce pollution by catching contaminants collected by rainwater and surface run off, before it enters rivers.
• They can provide new homes and food for wildlife that already live in towns, gardens and parks and contribute to healthy rivers and streams.

Swale in a housing estate   Car Park Raingarden in America

Raingarden Planter Boxes - the basics

Use our toolkit to create your own

Useful Links

Planting lists


Images © Taylor Wimpey, CSGNT and N McLean.